My parents were attached to Russian culture by a thousand ineradicable ties. But they did not cut me off from American society, nor could they have. I assimilated wholeheartedly, found my parents in many ways embarrassing, and allowed my Russian to decline through neglect.
I met with an Automaidan activist who was part of a self-appointed group drafting a lustration law for parliament, which would exclude from political life people who actively participated in Yanukovych's criminal regime.
After Stalin died, the Soviet Union began inching toward the world again. The ban on jazz was lifted. Ernest Hemingway was published; the Pushkin Museum in Moscow hosted an exhibit of the works of Picasso.
During two decades, on and off, reporting in Russia and the post-Soviet states - in the turbulent '90s, the wealthy but depressing aughts and, finally, during the eruption of violence in Ukraine - I occasionally heard people talk about how 'the Americans' wanted this or that political outcome.
I've travelled to some of the places where Russian language and Russian culture were made part of the fabric of life long before Lenin arrived at Finland Station - and where Russian is now being rolled back, post-1991.
We will be judged as a society and as a culture by how we treated our meanest and most vulnerable citizens. If we keep going the way we're going, we will be judged very, very harshly - and sooner, perhaps, than we think.
My grandmother was content to sit in the back yard wearing her old, wide-brimmed summer hat and occasionally getting up to feed herself raspberries from the seemingly inexhaustible bushes.
In the post-Soviet era, the most interesting work on the Stalinist period has been social history, far beyond the Kremlin walls - the study of what one of its leading practitioners, Sheila Fitzpatrick, in her book 'Everyday Stalinism,' called 'ordinary life in extraordinary times.'
Left Bank Astana was beautiful at night, each building, it seemed, with its own nighttime color scheme and the street lamps all going full blast.
In 1959, Moscow gave space to an exhibition of American consumer goods, and my father, also a member of this generation, tasted Pepsi for the first time.
Stalin was born Joseph Dzhugashvili in 1878 in Gori, Georgia, on the periphery of the Russian Empire. His father was a hard-drinking cobbler whose relationship with Joseph's mother, Keke Geladze, came to an end when the boy was around six years old.
From the start of his administration, President Barack Obama had tried to lower tensions with Russia and refocus American attention on a rising China; he had made clear he wanted no part in the problems of the post-Soviet periphery.
In the fall of 1963, in Leningrad, in what was then the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the young poet Dmitry Bobyshev stole the young poet Joseph Brodsky's girlfriend.
The government, as a rule, discourages specialization: Military officers and diplomats are constantly transferred from one post to another, from one region to the next. Still, specialists do emerge.
While I was in Astana, a ballet master from St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre staged a performance of 'Giselle' in the opera hall. It was one of only a few performances to grace Astana's concert spaces in many weeks, and tickets were impossible to come by.
One of the most influential of the post-Soviet books was the Princeton historian Stephen Kotkin's 'Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization' (1995), a study of the steel city of Magnitogorsk, the U.S.S.R.'s answer to Pittsburgh, as it was constructed in the shadow of the Ural Mountains in the early nineteen-thirties.
I grew up in this household where reading was the most noble thing you could do. When I was a teenager, we would have family dinners where we all sat there reading. It wasn't because we didn't like each other. We just liked reading. The person who made my reading list until my late teen years was my mom.
Baba Seva - Seva Efraimovna Gekhtman - was born in a small town in Ukraine in 1919. Her father was an accountant at a textile factory, and her mother was a nurse. Her parents moved to Moscow with her and her brothers when she was a child.
I left the world of jail with plenty of relief but, more than anything, with a sense of unease that I still can't quite shake.